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Posts tagged ‘health care’

by Logan

Pain the foot, it may be a Bunion

Many of us, including myself, are not strangers to foot pain. There are many things that can cause foot pain including, stress fracture, plantar fasciitis, twisted ankle, ingrown toenail, gout, and many others. But have you stopped to look if your pain may be a Bunion. If you don’t know what this is, you are in the right place.


A bunion is also called a hallux valgus. It is an actual deformity of your big or great toe.

Some have described this as a big toe bone or tissue around the joint.  But really, the great toe (hallux) is being pushed or turned into the second toe. (Valgus)

I’ve heard this before from a non-medical type – “Your toe just ain’t straight.

Because the toe is angulating inward, subsequent swelling of the joint, pain, and even redness can be seen.

In some cases, there is an actual bump on the inside of your foot. This could be a body process or a swollen bursal sac.


The symptoms are primarily to do with the toe itself. You may see some pain when walking or some redness of the large joint of the toe.  Often you can see the toe pointing inward.  Blisters may form because of the rubbing of the toe inside shoes, or to the toe next to it.

You may notice that your shoes aren’t fitting the way they used to. You may not be able to put a shoe on because of the pain. Infections can occur secondary to a blister or crack or from an ingrown toenail The cause stems from the bunion.

Again, an actual deformity of the foot may be all that you see. Depending on the severity, the deformity may be quite pronounced.


Swelling or pain in the great toe is not only seen in Bunions. There could be something else going on instead. X-ray will help immensely to see the great toe pointing inward.

Blood testing may be important to rule out things like infection or gout. Remember, some things could be secondary and some things could be the real cause of the problem. A gout patient will have a very similar description of pain and redness in the toe.


Initially, treatment is basic.  By getting the right pair of shoes, much of your pain and discomfort can be solved. Shoes are easily the most important initial treatment option. Box toed shoes will allow for an increased space and avoid blisters and other problems.

Ice is required for the swelling that can be seen from irritation. You may also need to rest and elevate your foot.  NSAIDs or Non steroidal anti inflammatories such as IBU or Naproxen could be beneficial as well.

In some cases, splints or toe spacers or bunion regulators may be helpful. These also are known as bunion splints or bunion cushions. All-in-all they are under the category of orthotics.  There are a lot of different orthotics – some in grocery stores and some need to be prescribe or made by a specialist. In many cases, you will need to see a foot doctor, also called a podiatrist.

One of the last options in severe bunion cases is surgery.  Surgery can be done when all other treatment options have failed.  There are many different things they could do in surgery, depending on severity and availability.

1.)      They could remove the bony growth on inside of toe
2.)     They could realign big toe.  This can require a pin or a cast placed on foot.  A pin goes into the toe to keep it straight.
3.)     Realigning cartilage, bone, or other tissue
4.)     Other

Typically if a pin is placed – it is absorbed and will be broken down by the body over time. Continued research has looked into the best way this can be done. Current treatments are the most up-to-date as possible.


Bunion treatment has a large benefit for most patients. Surgery is the last option but it does do a good job for those where their bunions really affect their daily lives.

But remember, not all toe pain is bunions. Seek medical attention as required for complete and accurate diagnosis.

by Logan

Are You Choosing Not to Have Health Insurance?

Health Care and health insurance is a huge debate – both on national levels, state levels, and even in our own homes. The dilemma is present and the outcomes are even scarier. No matter what side you are on, hopefully you can see that not having health insurance can be a potentially huge problem.

Often health insurance is something that we take for granted. Of course, this isn’t in all cases. It appears to be especially true for college age students.  Is the reason for this availability or choice. Are more people loosing their jobs or is good coverage becoming too expensive.

A recent study came out and indicated that some 48 million Americans may be without health insurance. But not all of the cases are because of a lost job or unemployment. Some are by choice. Others site that individual health insurance is too expensive.

Without health insurance, large problems brew. With no insurance, you may skip out on that yearly exam or you may avoid getting treated for moderate pains, problems, or concerns. In the end, this only worsens your overall health.  In the long run, this could prove to be a vital problem.

The Commonwealth Fund provided the study of around two thousand individuals. 25% did not have any insurance and around 25% of those who didn’t have insurance have never had insurance. Another 30% or so indicated that they had lost their insurance from an employee sponsored insurance through cutting of jobs, benefits, or a complete loss of a job altogether

Some argue that no one is choosing to not have insurance

There are those who report that choosing not to have insurance and being unable to pay for it is vastly different. What do you think?

Could someone make enough money on paper, but have too much debt. It looks like they may be well off but really, they are struggling to stay afloat.

Common sense or your own history would make it difficult for you to believe that anyone would actively choose not to have insurance.  Ideas that they may be saving the money that they were going to use for insurance into a special account to use for doctor visits.  Are you money savey enough to save your money enough to have a real benefit from not getting insurance.

Remember back to your College years

I personally had tons of friends who choose not to waste their money when they were single on insurance. They had the invincibility shield on and believed that they would never need the insurance and so why pay for it.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services estimated that in 2008 – 44 percent  of those uninsured were between the ages of 18 and 34.  Their belief that a good portion of these people believed that they were immune to sickness.  In half of these cases, the individual could pay for individual insurance.

But many of those, who choose not to have insurance while single and a student, once married, are strong supports for health insurance. When a family comes into play, a lot of things change.


Health Insurance is a very tricky issue to deal with.  Without a doubt, there are those who need insurance who can’t get it. This could be a variety of reasons, and the most basic, is that they haven’t taken enough time to search through and find a individual coverage that suits them.

Others have recently lost their job or are in-between jobs. Another good proportion of people, their companies no longer offer this benefit. That would be so hard, to previously have had insurance, to have not lost your job, but are no longer able to have insurance through your employer.

But at the same time, for whatever reason, there are those who are actively choosing not to have insurance. They may see someone else forcing them to have insurance as a bad thing.

The one thing that we know for sure, not having insurance is a horrible thing. You may think that you are invincible but one day, something may happen. By not having insurance, you could be setting yourself up for a life full of financial misery. 

Take the time and find an insurance that is right for you.

by Logan

What is the Children’s Health Insurance Program? Also called CHIP.

CHIP is called the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  It is a program that is given or administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

It is a state and sort of a federally funded program. In essence, the program is matched fund to fund by the federal government  to provide insurance for families of children.

There is little worse than not having insurance when you have children of your own. Stress and anxiety eat at you daily as you try to find a job that has insurance or another way to get it. CHIP is a good source of insurance for children.

It was initially designed to cover children who were uninsured where the parents’ incomes were modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.  In other words, Medicaid covered insurance for very low income families. But studies were showing that there were a large number of children, whose families made some money, and therefore didn’t qualify for Medicaid, but who still weren’t insured.

History of the CHIP Program

CHIP was started in 1997 and was an expansion of taxpayer-funded insurance. It was the largest of sorts since Medicaid began in the 1960’s.

It was originally seen as a ten year program.  Therefore a reauthorization was required in 2007.

It began under the Social Security Act.  It was supported by Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Orrin Hatch, and First Lady Hilary Clinton at the time.

It really became hatched after the 1993 Clinton Health Care Plan had failed. This smaller version, and more specific was envisioned. They also wanted something that would gain support from both parties.  It was funded on the thought of increasing tobacco taxes by 75 cents.


Partnership of the State and Federal Governments

This program is a partnership and it was passed with the belief that success depended on both parties working well together.   The state would have certain responsibilities, guidelines, and choices.

The first choice for a state was how to use the CHIP program. 3 different possibilities were seen.

1.)     The state could use the CHIP program separate from the Medicaid Program.

2.)     The state could use the CHIP program and the funds, to expand the Medicaid Program.

3.)     The states could make a combination program.

The states would then receive federal funds in addition to the funds for Medicaid match.

In early 1999, less than 2 years after it was passed, 47 states had signed up for the CHIP program.  But, the problem soon became clear. It was difficult to get children enrolled.

Administration of George W. Bush and Barack Obama

There were two attempts under this presidency to expand the funding for the CHIP program. In both times, President Bush vetoed the bills.

The belief was a large concern by President Bush that the government was moving towards federalization of the health care in general.

His belief was also that the government was heading away from providing insurance for poor children and moving toward providing insurance for the middle class families.

In February of 2009, President Obama signed into place a bill expanding the CHIP program to 4 million additional children.  It also included pregnant women and also legal immigrants.


The Debate

The cost of the CHIP program over the first 10 years was calculated and came to over 40 billion dollars.  The largest debate is the increasing role of the federal government in health care.

Studies in 2007 showed that children who were once on CHIP and then dropped out, would seek emergency care facilities rather than primary care physicians. In the end, this increased the overall cost for the government.

Another study showed that for every 100 children added to CHIP, there was a loss of between 25 and 50 children from private coverage. This means that some families used the CHIP program not out of necessity and chose it to save themselves some money.  On the flip side, that means that 25 to 50 children who needed the program were unable to use it.



The bill was originally scheduled for 10 years. That means in 2007 it was up for renewal. It passed both houses of the congress and a expansion was approved.

The expansion was considering an annual income cut off of $82,600.  This was vetoed by President Bush.

Three weeks later, another bill was passed with an annual income cut off of $62,000 which was also vetoed by President Bush.

Congress ultimately extended CHIP funding through March of 2009 after the other two bills were vetoed.

It was finally Reauthorized in 2009 by President Obama and the expansion was set into place. A cigarette tax of 62 cents was added.

The CHIP program has great expectations for those children who are uninsured. The goal should be with them alone. Additional programs are being considered to help with overall insurance problems.  The CHIP program is just one battle that is being done for the uninsured.

by Logan

Is Tuberculosis a Healthcare Nightmare?

Tuberculosis or TB is something that you hear about a lot, maybe in school or at your work. You may have questions and get a yearly TB test. But really, how many people do you know that has experienced this condition?  What is it really?  Is TB a health care nightmare?  The answer is yes!!

TB is a lung infection that is caused by a strain of mycobacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.   The mycobacteria part means a fungus like bacteria. In other words, it is a cross between a bacteria and a fungus organism. It is rather unique.

It affects the lungs and symptoms may be minimal to severe depending on an active or latent phase.  Most bacteria infections are self limiting. They come and go depending on the history, severity, and treatment. But TB is different.  It can lay dominant in your lungs for months or years and this is referred to as Latent Infection.  In this case, you’ve already been affected, but it isn’t actually hurting you.  Active Infection and you are experiencing serious symptoms.

TB is transmitted via cough, sputum, or saliva. Getting sneezed on by someone else can also cause this infection to be passed.  About 10% of patients get an active disease, where the symptoms are serious and the risk of death, without treatment, is equally as serious.

The main symptoms with someone with active disease is as follows:

–          Chronic and Severe Cough
–          Night Sweats
–          Fever
–          Weight loss
–          Pink or blood-tinged sputum
–          Others

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

A tuberculin skin test also called a Mantoux test checks the skin for a reaction to the antibodies. The problem is that those having received a vaccine to TB also will show positive. There are false positives, which means that your arm will show a positive mark, yet, you don’t have the disease. The worse scenario would be to have a  negative  skin test and still be positive with TB.

X-ray testing is essential with TB.  It isn’t always definitative, but in most cases, it can say that you don’t have it.

Culturing the bacteria is definitive for a positive test. This is a more difficult part of the testing. Sputum testing must be done and the sputum then tested. The mycobacterium is slow growing in laboratories.

Additional diagnosis products are being tested to get an accurate and faster finding.

Who gets Tuberculosis?

TB is much less common in the United States, France and Australia.  It is a more common condition in places like Africa, Latin America, China, Russia, and other third world countries of the world.  On average, over 1/3 of the world’s population has been infected with TB.  Many of these have no symptoms and nothing to worry about.

In 2010 – it was estimated that almost 9 million new cases were seen worldwide. But more alarming is that almost 1.5 million deaths were attributed to TB.  Most of these cases were found in developing countries.

China though is working hard to improve their TB rates and treatment.

Vaccination for TB

There is currently one vaccine to protect and prevent TB. Immunity does not last forever and decreases dramatically after 10 years.   This vaccine is not given regularly in countries like England, Canada, and the United States, except in high risk areas or because of other diseases.


Treatment is essential in active cases. ½ of all cases that aren’t treated have a risk of death. Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria, but the length of time is different than typical infections.

Treatment is different for active infection and latent infection. The duration and type of antibiotic may be different.  Latent requires a single antibiotic while active requires a combination therapy.

Treatment is anywhere from 4 months to 9 months depending on treatment onptions and symptoms.  Initial treatment is usually for six months. But if you are having a recurrent disease, treatment may be required for over 2 years.

Resistance to treatment is on the rise. This means that the normal antibiotic used, no longer works in some patients. This occurs when a patient takes the prescribed course of antibiotics for a shorter duration than prescribed. They start feeling better and believe that they can stop treatment. This is often a bad idea.

 History and Overview

Tuberculosis is a condition that has been around for hundreds and thousands of years. TB has been found in dried tissues from Egyptian mummies. Hippocrates talked about it and folklore stores associated TB wth vampires hundreds of years ago.

The disease is difficult but treatable. It can be found closer to you than you think. Outpockets of outbreaks pop up throughout the Untied States.  Prisons, schools, and even small towns can be affected and the outbreak can spread quickly. Just because that the risk may be lower in the areas where you live, doesn’t mean that you should ignore the symptoms in a situation where blood tinged sputum, chronic cough and fever. Tuberculosis should be researched in these cases.

by Logan

Health Records are Electronic Medical Records….or are they?

The EMR is the new medical word of the day. EMR or electronic medical records is something that has really come into its own in the last decade. EMR is a computerized record that helps organize a patients medical chart into a single file. Well, at least for a single patient at a single facility. If you are seen in an emergency room and at your Family Physician’s Clinic, you could have two files.

Well, then again, you could have one also at your Dentist office, your OBGYN and also at that place you went last month to get some laser hair removal.  Oh ya…two years ago you went and had a urology visit because of bladder issues and had your first ever colonoscopy.

In reality, there are several files with your name on it.  Each could say the same thing…or they could be saying something different.

So what’s the big need for an Electronic Medical Record?

Truthfully there is a need.  Especially for those patients who have many medical issues. This computerized file allows a provider to follow you better. It really does.

Immunizations, Follow up appointments, medications changes, procedures, and so much more can be done with this file. It can be easy to store and even easier to access. Well, accessed by medical personnel at your clinic.

 It’s either a EMT or paper-based system.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Paper-based systems are vitally important in certain facilities and settings. Due to a number of reasons including, user friendly, cost, history, difficulty to switch over, and desire, paper charting may be still used. It really depends on the size of the facility and the complexity of the patients. But in most cases, the EMR is the way to go.  Or the direction clinics are planning to go.

If several different paper files exist and a single provider or health care individual wanted to look at each of the files. This would be very time consuming and probably repetitive in work the was done and would be done.

Cost is really a huge thing. Paper-based systems are relatively inexpensive where as an EMR can be a very costly endeavor.

Legal Ramifications

Medical providers and Medical clinics are often embattled in legal actions, one way or another.  Whether this is a good thing or not, is another argument entirely.

But accessing medical records in a timely manner, being able to make adjustments, and reviewing the record when necessary or when changes are being made, makes sense both on a patient treatment basis and a legal basis.

HIPPA laws are there to protect the patient and the provider. Better records help attain both goals.

But, EMR’s are not legally mandated for good reason. Each facility has different needs. Having a single EMR company or manner, would be ineffective. A large hospital would have an entirely different need than an OBGYN clinic, or even a dermatology clinic.  It would be very hard to have one company that controls the entire EMR world.

Speaking of world, EMR’s aren’t only found in the United States, but truthfully worldwide. Europe and other countries have their own systems. The exception is the United Kingdom.  The Health system is unified, therefore the EMR system is as well.

 Are Privacy Concerns Real?

Yes and No.  Yes on the side of accidents do happen. Access is accidentally given or hundreds of documents are thrown away instead of being shredded. It can happen, but overall, an EMR system should protect the privacy of the patients. This is being seen in this case.

Overall, there are good and bad sides to the EMR world. Work will move forward on a country wide EMR for at least basic patient information. There are many who argue against this. For now, we will continue having several different charts at our different medical clinics. This is a good thing. Cost is rising, but so is patient care and protecting the patient.

Just in case you didn’t know it, there is a medical chart [EMR], somewhere with your name on it.

by Christel Swasey

New Year’s Resolutions: Two Healthy Weeks of Family Dinners

It’s not easy to make a New Year’s resolution happen.  Yet, every year, we try.  This year’s no different.

One of my resolutions is to speed walk for thirty minutes, four days a week.  (Today the weather was so nice, and the baby fell asleep in his stroller, so I ended up speedwalking for an hour and a half.  So far, so good!)

Another resolution I’ve set for this year is to cook and eat for heart health.  I want to decrease the amount of high-cholesterol (meat-based) and high-sugar (not whole-grain-based) cooking that I do.  I want to start by leaving all the sludge-for-our-arteries kinds of foods at the grocery store where they belong, not in our refrigerator or in our pantry, where they will end up in our bodies.  I think that if I buy it for guests or for the kids, I will end up ingesting it myself.  So:

I have made a list of meals for the first two weeks of 2012.  My criteria include quick preparation time, as few ingredients as possible, no highly expensive ingredients, lower sugar content, high fiber and nutrient content, no white flour content, and low-or-no meat content.  I also want to offer the family dessert every day, but a healthier style of desserts that we’ve been practicing in the past.

Here’s what I have come up with.  And, just so you know, I’m really doing this; I have my actual shopping list written for the ingredients I don’t already have at home.

Here it is:


  • Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto — with fruit and berry salad for dessert
  • Whole wheat pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce — poached vanilla apples for dessert
  • Corn tortilla enchiladas (bean and cheese) — hot fruit soup for dessert
  • Homemade salsa and whole wheat quesadillas — grapes and nuts for dessert
  • Fat-free shake-n-bake chicken, and baked potatoes with chive sauce  –sugarfree jello for dessert
  • Black bean wraps with the leftover salsa on top –fruit and nut salad for dessert
  • Zucchini, Leek, and egg-whites quiche  — sugarfree rootbeer floats for dessert
  • Roasted stuffed red peppers  —grapes and low fat cheese for dessert
  • Pasta primavera with whole wheat pasta and fresh herbs —  chocolate covered raisins and dried berries for dessert
  • Minestrone with homemade 100% whole wheat rolls  — baked pears with cinnamon sauce for dessert
  • Pineapple and mandarin chicken stir fry  — frozen chocolate covered bananas for dessert
  • Sweet potato waffles with berries  — no dessert
  • Spinach mushroom omelettes  — fresh berries with fat free cream for dessert
  • Lentil chili and cornbread  — 100% fruit- fruit leather for dessert

Doesn’t that sound good?

I am determined not to get discouraged if I don’t perfectly fulfill my resolutions.   If we end up with sugared up, high-cholesterol restaurant pizza one day because I don’t have time to cook, it’s okay.  We are aiming for improvement, and not immediate perfection.  The more we learn about health, and the more we attempt to put into actual practice our new knowledge of what changes actually prevent disease and create well-being, the better off our families will eventually be.

Our families are the most important thing to us. Protect them with family health insurance.

by Christel Swasey

From the Healthy Recipe Collection: Better Than Shrek Soup

I accidentally made Shrek Soup.  For a party.  Oh, it was scary, the night before, when I realized that the delicious soup that I had concocted appeared so brown and gluey.  My 14-year-old daughter said, “Mom, it tastes good but it looks like something Shrek would eat.”

Note to self:  If you add carrots to potato leek soup, do not puree any of them, as the orange carrots mix with the green leeks, turning the soup an ugly brown.)

In preparation for this holiday party, in which forty people were going to come to dine at my small house (which actually fits about eight people, tops) I had asked three of my guests to bring pots of soup.  I’d planned to make the fourth pot, and to bake rolls and cookies, and it would be a bread-and-soup based, simple, hearty feast.

I had planned to serve my guests what I thought was a fool-proof potato leek soup, the rich and creamy and irresistible version with a secret ingredient of whipping cream, but then: two things happened:

a) Because I had tried to wing the recipe and not read the recipe, it turned out badly the night before so I didn’t dare serve it to guests.

b)  After the fact, my conscience got the better of me.  Leeks and cream taste great, but the antioxidants in the leeks don’t cancel out the fat and cholesterol in the whipping cream, contrary to popular thought.

So, I searched for a healthy soup online and found one.  It had to be different from the three soup flavors my friends had told me they were going to bring.  And I had to run to the store, get the ingredients, and make it quickly.

So, the healthiest, easiest, yummiest-sounding soup that I found was on the Mayo Clinic’s website.  It’s a minestrone that they’ve improved by using unsalted chicken broth and fresh tomatoes rather than canned tomatoes, limiting  the sodium content.  I doubled this recipe and I also quadrupled the amount of pasta, so that the soup would feed more people.  I also added the beans and pasta separately, because I fear overcooked pasta.

It turned out perfectly.  We still have leftovers, three days later.  I just warmed some up for lunch and it is wonderful!

The good thing about making a healthy choice (like serving the Mayo Clinic Minestrone, rather than high-fat –although admittedly delectable– potato leek cream soup) is that you can fill up on this nutrient-packed soup and will end up eating fewer pieces of fudge (or whatever else your heart desires but gets clogged and sludged by.)

So, here’s a great idea for a holiday gathering.

My version of The Mayo Clinic’s Minestrone:


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2/3 cup chopped celery

2 carrots, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups fat-free, unsalted chicken broth

4 large tomatoes, chopped

1 cup chopped spinach

3 cans canned beans (I used 1 chickpeas and 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed)

1 and 1/2 cup uncooked small shell pasta

2 small zucchinis, diced

5 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

DIRECTIONS:  (My version)

In a large saucepan, I heated the olive oil over low to medium heat.  Next, I added the onion, celery and carrots and sauteed 5 minutes.   Then I added garlic and continued cooking for another3 minutes. I stirred in broth, tomatoes, spinach, and zucchini. While it boiled very briefly, and then simmered, I cooked the pasta separately.  Last, I added the beans and the pasta and fresh basil, just before serving.

Click Here To Check Out The Mayo Clinic’s Version of the Minestrone

Get healthy and get great deals on insurance. By filling out the form at the top of the page you can find great quotes for family health insurance and other insurances.

by Lyndsie

What Does the Future Hold for Health Care?

With radical changes occurring in the access to health insurance and Medicare in the United States, many people have begun asking what the future holds for health care. Whatever the political decisions made regarding who pays for and provides access to health care, there are a number of changes on the horizon for health care itself.

Aging Population

Over the next several years, the average population age of Americans is projected to increase dramatically. While in the year 2000 there were just over 35 million Americans over the age of 65, in just thirty years, that number is projected to double. This means a profound shift in health care focus to more age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and certain types cancer. On top of this, normal end of life care must expand to provide for a population that is heavily tilted to an older demographic. The number of nurses and elderly care physicians will necessarily need to increase to attend to this predominantly older population.

Personalized Medicine

Many medical experts predict a change soon in the way health care is administered. For the most part, medicines are manufactured in bulk to respond to predominant or common ailments in a population. Pharmaceutical companies manufacture drugs that are more likely to result in large profits by targeting those diseases which are easily treatable or which affect large numbers of people. However, those medicines are broadly manufactured with an eye to helping the largest segment of the population. Future medicine will focus more on personalized care, using molecular diagnostic tests and genetic analysis to manufacture drugs specifically designed for an individual and his or her unique ailment.

Greater Efficiency in Doctor Visits

Several different health care organizations are suggesting new ways to approach the common doctor visit. As it is, individuals arrive at the doctor’s office, fill out the same forms they filled out last time, wait until they are processed, have vitals checked, wait for the nurse, receive some basic care, wait for the doctor, and then are treated. This can take hours out of an individual’s day not to mention burdens both the doctor and his or her staff. In the future this may change with an emphasis on online information sharing between doctors, nurses, and patients as well as an exploration of online video chats with doctors. Both steps can improve an office’s efficiency and allow them to reach more patients.

Disease to Prevention

The large majority of individuals only visit the doctor when something is already wrong; either a prolonged cough, a sore throat, or a more serious pain has driven them to seek out professional help with their health. With the shift in health care funding and health insurance processes, it is likely there will be a profound shift in the way health care itself is administered. The likely context of this shift will involve a change in health management from curing and treating diseases to preventing them from emerging in the first place. Prevention medicine is much less expensive for each individual and is more universal in its prescription.

The future holds a great many changes for health care no matter the political debates about it. From the aging population to a shift in care models to medicine development, the future of health looks to change a great deal in the next few years.

by Lyndsie

How Do I Transfer My Health Insurance Policy?

Whether you are in the process of relocating because of a new job, or simply following your heart, transferring a health insurance policy isn’t difficult, but there are a number of factors to take into consideration when doing so. Here are some useful questions to consider when transferring your health insurance policy.

Do most Policies Include Major Medical Plans?

When transferring a health insurance policy it is important to understand that not all health insurance policies will cover major medical plans. Major medical plans will cover, once a deductible has been paid, the majority of your medical expenses as a result of serious illness, and or extended periods of hospitalization. Considering the fact that several days in the hospital can cost up to and beyond $70,000, a policy that includes a major medical plan is something that needs to be strongly factored in when transferring your health insurance policy.

Will Pre-existing Conditions Be a Factor?

Pre-existing health concerns will be the topic of conversation when transferring a health insurance policy. Insurance companies generally define a pre-existing health condition as any type of injury, illness, or disease occurred prior to your transfer. However, do not be discerned, as the exact definition varies from one insurance company to another, and each insurance company will have its on time frame. Pre-existing could be defined as anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. There are still health insurance policies that will accommodate your needs.

Are There Specific Enrollment Periods?

Insurance companies will have certain time frames in which they allow new and existing clients to transfer, and or change their health insurance policy. These are referred to as ‘open enrollment periods’ and will be clearly stated in the company’s policy package. These typically occur during spring, or fall. Once enrolled you will not be eligible to transfer or change your plan until the next enrollment period. Exceptions include changes of events such as a new baby, change of marital status, or loss of a spouse or dependant.

When Would my Benefits Take Effect?

When transferring a health insurance policy benefits will normally take effect immediately. However, if the new plan offers additional benefits there may be a waiting period of up to 6 months for those additional benefits to take effect. Depending on your specific medical needs this is certainly something to consider when transferring your health insurance policy. Do not let the waiting period put you off if is it a needed addition to your plan. Take full advantage of being able to update your plan when transferring your health insurance policy.


What if I Am Moving to Another State?

If you are moving to another state transferring your health insurance policy is still possible, just a little more research is required. If eligible, you will be able to transfer the general features of your plan over, but it is important to be familiar with the regulations pertaining to that particular state. Health insurance guidelines vary from to state to state, and when transferring your health insurance policy you will want, and need to find an appropriate plan that will meet both your needs, and the regulations of that state.

Transferring a health insurance policy is most certainly feasible. Don’t let the questions and paperwork deter you. If you take all of the above information into consideration, it will no longer be the daunting task it once was, but rewarding, knowing that you fully understand the new policy that you have chosen.

Think about also comparing quotes. You can find individual health insurance rates by filling out the form at the top of this page.


by Lyndsie

What Affects Health Insurance Rates?

The cost of health insurance has been steadily rising over the past several decades and it is partly due to the the rising cost of health care. New technologies like the MRI and CAT scan are now routinely used during medical examinations. It is unarguably the cost of these and other advanced technologies that have raised the price of medical care. Fewer employers offer group health policies to their employees and the number of uninsured Americans is rising, which further drives up medical costs and health insurance rates

Factors Affecting Insurance Rates for Individuals

Individual health insurance rates are based on a number of factors, some which can be controlled and some which cannot. Primary factors typically include age, weight, smoking, alcohol and drug use, family medical history, and occupation. All of these factors have an impact on an individual’s health and may increase the provider’s risk of paying a substantial claim. Otherwise healthy individuals with a strong family history of cancer or diabetes will pay higher rates than those with no significant health risks in their family history.

Group Health Insurance Rates

The factors affecting group health insurance rates include the size of the group, the median age of its members, and health risks that may be associated with a particular group. Large employers who provide health insurance to hundreds of employees pay lower rates per employee than employers who insure fifty employees. This is because the risk of a single large claim is spread over a greater number of people. The average age of the group and occupational diseases associated with various jobs also affect rates being paid.

The Impact of the Uninsured

Uninsured individuals often have the highest health care costs since they are likely to receive their primary care from hospital emergency rooms. Those who have no insurance are also more likely to postpone routine examinations and therefore have more serious healthcare issues. The cost of caring for patients who are not able pay their own medical expenses is passed along in higher costs to paying patients and insurance companies. Although it does not seem fair, this results in higher health insurance premiums for everyone.

Legal Costs

The increasing number of medical malpractice lawsuits has raised the cost of malpractice insurance, which also raises overall medical costs. Hospitals are businesses and they raise their rates to cover medical malpractice premiums which pose a significant expense. The price of drugs is also affected by the costs of defending legal actions. These higher costs are passed along to health insurance providers which then charge higher rates to their clients.

Political Considerations

Some states have moved to place government health insurance programs like medicaid into the private sector. The federal government has also allowed private insurers to receive funds for operating alternatives to federal Medicare insurance which covers senior citizens. The additional premiums received from the government may lower health insurance costs for employers and individuals. This is due to the fact that it increases the number of people in the insurance pool.

The health insurance industry is competitive and employers or individuals may be able to limit the cost of their policies by comparing rates from different individual health insurance providers. Individuals can also lower their insurance rates by lowering their risk factors by not smoking or by losing weight. Many factors affect health insurance rates, and as mentioned, some of them cannot be changed. However, some can be controlled by individuals or by employers who provide wellness programs to employees in their group health plan.